Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Cleanup

Mild temperatures and an ambitious brother-in-law meant the opportunity to continue the cleanup of Cedar trees in the rear of the property. With loppers, hatchet, and ax in hand for a few hours we managed to clear out approximately 100 Cedars that were choking out native grasses and flowers. Even the boys got involved dragging the trees to piles.

The trees will likely winter in the piles and dry out, then come early Spring when the opportunity arises we will burn them. I'll also have to decide how many of the larger Cedars closer to the house I want to remove and establish a plan to regularly remove new growth cedars as they are sure to grow given established trees exist on neighboring properties. All for a better prairie!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Woodworking: Finished Bedroom Set

It has been done for awhile, but I realized the finished master bedroom set that my wife & I worked on was never posted. I have a prior post which discussed the bed frame and headboard, but since then we added on two Ikea bedside tables which were finished to match. A great start to a few of the master suite refinishing plans we have! Take a look and let us know what you think...

Sunday, November 13, 2016


It may only be mid-November, but since Halloween has passed and the Fall decorations are already on the downward slide to be removed post-Thanksgiving my wife decided that the Christmas tree can be assembled. The fact that we have an entire family room separate from the living room that allows us much more space may be a large contributing factor too. Our previous home required us to remove a piece of furniture from the living room to have the tree up.

The boys also had to trek outside after dark to watch the combine harvest up beans across the road. Even in the dark and a bit chilly wouldn't stop these boys from watching some big machines.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Throwing Leaves...

With a fantastic Fall day the youngest boy enjoyed some time outdoors this morning playing in the leaves. With our abundance of trees in the yard the boys finally have some they can play in; Our prior home had two sad Maples that didn't provide much in the way of Fall leaves. Little things that you can take for granted, and that provide such simple joy.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall Sunset & Our 'New' Truck!

A couple of weekends ago we made a quick trek up to Iowa to make a big purchase, our first truck! It isn't anything special, but it will be great to have at least one 4WD vehicle as we head into winter in the country and the hauling capacity will be much improved for our projects. Here she sits in our yard:

And while we are enjoying some beautiful sites (haha!) here is a look at tonight's sunset near the pond:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Costumes

My wife Alyssa loves the opportunity to use her crafting skills and creative ideas. Halloween has become one such opportunity to get the entire family into an ensemble of costumes, and the planning comes plenty early as she is already talking about 2017 ideas. For this year we played on the "Bee Movie" that all three of the boys have been stuck on watching, and the concept that my wife considers herself the queen bee of the household being the only female. So our costumes consisted of the three boys being bees, in homemade tie dyed shirts, my wife being a queen bee, complete with crown, and myself as a bee catcher in full suit and all. Needless to say it was a hit with many folks offering up compliments to us at the town parade and trick or treating. We also ventured to "Boo at the Zoo" in Topeka and got a bit more tham we bargained for being interviewed by WIBW, the local CBS affiliate in Topeka.

You can view the story (and video if available) here:

Our family prior to the Mayetta, Kansas Halloween parade:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween Pumpkin Painting

My wife has had a few of the Fall and Halloween decorations out for a few weeks now, and we've had a few bouts of Fall-like weather during that time. The trees are nearing peak with numerous yellow and a few orange leaves mixing in with the browning colors of other plants. We've made our visit to the pumpkin patch, and now we've finished our pumpkin painting.

My wife has her 'Queen Bee' pumpkin, and the boys and I decided on a variety of super heroes for ours. The boys, even at ages 7, 5, and 3, likely did as good of a job as I did.

And now they're prominently displayed on the front porch.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Football, Telescopes, and Pumpkins!

It didn't seem like it was that busy of a weekend, but looking back I guess we did quite a bit during a regular ol' weekend. We started off attending another high school football game, and saw our Royal Valley pull off their second win of the season. Of importance the team is 2-0 when we are in attendance, and 0-4 when we are not. Brayden and his first grade classmates got the privilege of singing the national anthem before the game.

Saturday morning the boys and I headed into the back acre and cut down around 40 Cedar trees ranging from 1 to 5 years old. Sadly this cleared less than 1000 square feet, so there's a few hundred trees left to go. Saturday evening I took the two oldest boys up to the Banner Creek Observatory as they were having an open house to observe the moon. There were several amateur astronomers who brought their personal equipment to view the moon, and the boys loved looking through all of them. The big show was viewing the moon through the observatories 20 inch RCOS telescope shown below (image from their website). For a general perspective this scope has a magnification range of 63 to 627 times, and has a cool price tag in the range of $40,000 to $55,000. The boys were impressed by seeing all of the craters and details of the moon!

And finally we ventured off on Sunday to the Schaake Pumpkin Patch to grab some pumpkins and enjoy other activities. They have a playground, a small hay bale maze, and a few animals, alongside 30 acres of pumpkins with free tractor rides to/from. They may not have numerous activities, but they are priced right, FREE! A few collages of that fun are below...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Anniversary Weekend...

Todays marks 7 years of marriage for Alyssa and I, and 12 years of 'officially' being together after I asked her to be my girl at 12:15am on October 3, 2004. We've ventured off to Kansas City for my first career job, lived in an apartment, bought our first home, had 3 children, bought a dog, and moved to our second home together earlier this year after I made a career move in mid-2015. The only questionable decision we've made was the dog, okay she's only questionable 5-10% of the time.

So what do you do for your anniversary weekend? You head to town with all three boys in tow, stop at a store or two, go out to eat at Steak N Shake, and then head to your first hockey game! At least that is what we did this past weekend, alongside a few tasks at home and another venture to the creeks down the road and the pond out back.

The hockey game was a junior level team (18-22 year olds) named the Topeka Roadrunners, as they took on the Amarillo Bulls in a North American Hockey League matchup. The boys enjoyed watching something new, and the middle one wouldn't take his eyes off the ice always looking for certain players and clapping when necessary after the Roadrunners scored. The oldest even came away with a game used puck. We will definitely head back to another game before their season is over!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Manual Labor...

With the most recent bout of heavy rain last Friday night we saw our driveway deteriorate as water ran down it towards the ditch. While there is new 1.5 inch rock near the end of the driveway next to the cement plant the beginning half or more is lacking in the larger rock and is more sand and small stone. Left with some decent ruts and gullies, and an extended stretch of dry weather that would let the rocks compact the boys and I have spent some time in the late afternoon filling in some spots with extra rock. Perhaps it was using the shovels, or probably more the use of the dump wagon, but all three boys put in the help of some manual labor.

There's probably more spots that deserve fresh rock, and in reality the drive should be higher than the surrounding grass with a few more inches of driveway rock, for now this will do.